The Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas conducted a cornerstone dedication ceremony at the elementary building project on Thursday. Masonic dignitaries from throughout the region were in attendance.
“It was an honor to be able to conduct the cornerstone ceremony here at Blanco, where the connection between the school and Masonry goes so far back,” said Past Grand Master Gene Carnes, who officiated the ceremony.
In 1874, Blanco Lodge # 216 got approval from the Grand Lodge to build a Masonic University. A local couple, R. C. and Margaret Traweeks, donated ten acres of land for the site. That site is the current site of the historical building, the elementary school, and the BISD administrative offices.
Those early Masons dug a well, quarried stone from north of town, and laid out a foundation upon which to build the university. Unfortunately, they ran out of funds, and the project failed to materialize.
In 1883, a local group of citizens got together and determined to build a new high school. The Masons, along with the Traweeks, conveyed the land along with the quarried stones to this group of citizens to build that high school.
A new high school, built with stones acquired and upon the foundation first laid by the Masons, opened in 1884.
The new Blanco High School was destroyed by a fire in 1893. Students attended school at the courthouse for several years, until a new building was erected in 1902. That 1902 building was constructed of re-cycled stones from the original building.
The 1902 building soon fell into disrepair and was condemned. In 1921, a new building was erected, again by using the same stones from the original. That 1921 structure, architecturally classified as a “Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival” style, is the structure that is currently being renovated today.
“We are honored to have the Masons here to dedicate a cornerstone to our renovation project,” said Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford. “Their connection to Blanco ISD will be forever linked with this site, and with this historical building.”
“I want to thank them for their support of Blanco schools.”
Some source material for this article came from, “Proposed Application Form for National Register of Historic Places for the Blanco High School (1901),” submitted by Dorothy Howe Dillon and Retta Martin, July 14, 2010.